Laettner’s Not Likeable; No NFL For ‘Sex Offender’

Grant Hill reveals that Christian Laettner is a big jerk. In other news, sky is blue, water is wet, Duke is overrated.

Grant Hill Christian Laettner

• A former U of Minnesota running back can’t leave the state to attend an NFL tryout - just because he’s an “untreated sex offender“.

• There’s nothing like a buzzer-beater to punch your ticket to the Big Dance.

• The Yankees hope to have the healthiest ballpark in the league.

• Delaware seems determined to take a gamble on sports betting.

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Speed Read: Buzzer Beaters Punch NCAA Tickets

If you are only going to hit one basket in a game, hitting the shot that sends your team to the NCAA Tournament is good time to do it. And that’s just what Robert Morris University guard Dallas Green did (not the former big league manager), picking up a loose ball and draining a baseline jumper with 2.5 seconds left to give the Colonials a dramatic 48-46 victory over Mount St. Mary’s to win the Northeast Conference Championship.

Dallas Green

But as exciting as the final three seconds or so were, the first 39 minutes and 57 seconds were just as ugly. As in, “hey, look, ‘Sports Soup’ is on!” bad. The second half was pretty rough to watch, and that was a huge upgrade over the first half: the halftime score was 19-19, and the leading scorer for the game was RMU’s Jeremy Chappell (seen below celebrating) with 15 points.

Jeremy Chapell

But in the end, it was Green who provided the heroics. Which rubbed his opponents the wrong way:

Mount St. Mary’s guard Jeremy Goode was particularly stung that Green — a player who even Robert Morris coach Mike Rice admitted was the fifth option on the play — was the player who hit the decisive shot.

“It hurts more,” Goode said. “You’d rather see a guy who makes shots the whole time he has been here make the game-winner. Not [Green] though.”

I’m sure that Green is going to be very upset about those comments…as he and his teammates prepare for the NCAA Tournament, while the Mount St. Mary’s team prepares for a long off-season. But based on the game last night, I doubt that Green or that rest of the Robert Morris team should be game planning for more than one game.

(And in case you were curious, Robert Morris guard Mezie Nwigwe played despite being arrested on assault charges after a fight this past weekend, scoring a whopping three points in 18 minutes.)

Portland State clinches Big Sky

There was another ticket punched to the Big Dance last night which also ended in dramatic fashion. Portland State squeaked past huge underdog Montana State team (who finished the season 14-17) to win the Big Sky Championship. The Vikings also used a last-second shot to clinch their spot, as Julius Thomas dunked with 3.5 seconds left for the winning points in their 79-77 victory. Hopefully they can avoid being a No. 16 seed again, like they were last year before getting thumped by Kansas.

Quinton Rampage Jackson pickup truck

Meanwhile, coming on the heels of the death of TapouT clothing co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis being killed in a gruesome car crash, there was more bad news from the MMA world. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson broke his jaw in his UFC 98 victory over Keith Jardine on Saturday, which will force him out of his light heavyweight title match against Rashad Evans. Unbeaten Lyoto Machida is taking his place. Let’s hope that Rampage finds a healthier way to deal with his disappointment than before.

(And about the crash that killed “Mask” Lewis: the police are now looking into street racing as a cause of the accident, and it turns out that Lewis had at least eight traffic violations since 2001, including a DUI.)

Other sports stories floating around as you pondered who will make Bristol Palin an honest woman:

Which of these four bubble teams has the best case for an NCAA bid?

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Speed Read: ‘Twas A Bad Day To Be A Good Team

Boston, Cleveland and Orlando were a combined 82-17 headed into yesterday. The North Carolina Tar Heels and the White Gritty Hearty Tyler Hansbroughs, a subset of UNC, were a combined 13-0. And they all lost to the Knicks, Wizards, Raptors, and Boston College. A matching game might be fun, but sadly all winners and losers were listed respectively.

C's, Magic, Cavs, UNC lose

The C’s, Magic and Heels losses were all about the same; great teams had OK days and their opponents rose to the occasion. The Cavaliers game, though, ended in much controversy. Apparently traveling is a rule in the NBA, and an astute referee discovered this deep within the rulebook and called out LeBron James on this very infraction. Were the traveling not ratified and therefore whistled, James’ basket would have counted and tied the game. Perhaps a foul call could’ve made it a three-point play. But it appears ‘Bron got enough calls his way over the years against the Wizards. Call it magi-karma.

Fiesta Bowl parade float

I wish I could tell you what the heck this thing is, but it was a float in the Fiesta Bowl Parade this weekend. (Ohbytheway, they do a parade for the Fiesta Bowl. D’ya know that?) Ohio State could probably tell us what that balloon name is — for now we’ll christen it Tortilla Flotilla — but for now we’ll just stare and wonder how the heck Ohio State will hang with Texas, considering the Buckeyes amassed a total of nine points against both Rose Bowl combatants. If there’s hope, it’s in opposing coach Mack Brown’s analysis of how the game will unfold:

“If the teams are even, the team that wants to be there the most and has the edge and is more motivated usually wins.”

Let’s see. They got pulverized by two SEC teams in two consecutive championships. They got nailed by USC and Penn State in back-to-back manhandlings. Todd Boeckman is getting the sentimental senior decision to see time in the game, despite Terrelle Pryor’s messianic performances throughout the year. Yep. I can’t imagine which team’s more motivated.

ESPN News vs. Rumor

Just so I have this all straightened out, ESPN considers the above stories “news.” They also notate news as hinging on “sources,” which is information they receive that they cannot divulge. They are completely accurate and news-making. They also like to share “rumors,” which — if you click through — are stories that aren’t reported by ESPN, and since they hinge on someone else’s veracity, cannot be trusted as “sports news.” Jon Heyman said it? Watch out, loyal reader! You could get sourceroll’d!

Or “slapped silly” by Russian hockey players:

  • GUNAXIN isn’t very impressed with the Capitals’ Alexander Semin’s fighting technique. Nor are the broadcasters on the Rangers side: “I’m gonna slap you silly!”
  • You can read Joe Posnanski for his meandering thoughts on the baseball Hall of Fame, or on his tangential rant about Barry Manilow covering lame ’80s songs. The decision … is yours.
  • I saw this on Saturday, but so did DETROIT FREE PRESS’s Drew Sharp also saw Matt Millen on TV taking responsibility for the Lions’ miserable failures, making him pretty much the last guy to do so. Oh, he said it was his fault. I guess we’re all even. Play ball!

    Matt Millen back on TV

  • THE OREGONIAN drank enough coffee to last through Portland State’s win over Northern Arizona. It took four overtimes. Oh, they’ll sleep tonight!
  • Sorry to harp on this further, but this Jay Mariotti to AOL thing is still a little too surreal. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE talked with him about the move. From a man who said the future of sports journalism “sadly is not in newspapers”is writing for … AOL. Have I showed you the mousetrap-powered car I made in high school? Wanna know what I made the wheels out of?
  • Want to watch Tarvaris Jackson get flattened over and over again by Chris Clemons in the middle of his interception-TD? Go over to THE 700 LEVEL and knock yourself out.
  • The LONDON TIMES has a list of 2009’s most anticipated movies, and sure enough, no sports flicks crack the half-century group. No Major League 4: Julio Franco’s Last Stand?
  • Fun with hot stove stats! FIRE JIM BOWDEN looks at intentional walks and which managers incorrectly make the call to purposely have the pitcher throw four balls
  • And finally, life imitates Norm McDonald’s Dirty Work after a robbery suspect was apprehended, thanks to the trail of popcorn leading from the store to the perp’s living room. No word if Isiah Thomas is an abettor.

Which NFL Divisional Game winner will most likely get the Bill Richardson (D-NM) Early Exit Award and get beat next weekend?

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Mary Carey’s Secret Sixers Sweetheart Revealed

• Turns out it was Jason Smith that was the anonymous Sixer who made merry with Mary Carey.

Jason Smtih Sixers Mary Carey

• Motorcross racer Sophia Paull is sure to rev some engines.

• Congraualtions, Larry Fitzgerald! You’re officially a proud papa!

• Here’s photographic proof that Michelle Wie & Robin Lopez are an item.

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Jaguar Offers Girl To Cops; Daly’s Boob Massage

So, Charles Barkley, Stuart Scott & Mr. Belding walk into a bar

• Drunken Jaguars DB Brian Williams rants & raves & threatens arresting officers - then offers them to have sex with his date.

Brian Williams Jaguars sexy cop

• A pair of Portland State basketball players were accused of brutally beating a tour worker in Mexico.

• When out on the course nowadays, John Daly needs to have his nipples kneaded.

• Diners get medieval in trying to obtain Rashard Lewis’ autograph.

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Did PSU Players Brutally Attack Man In Mexico?

Two Portland State basketball players spending their spring break in Mexico are in deep trouble, after allegedly attacking a 23-year-old man and sending him to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Jeremiah Dominguez Scott Morrison Portland State

(L: Jeremiah Dominguez, R: Scott Morrison)

FAN IQ sends along a report from the PORTLAND OREGONIAN that Vikings guard Jeremiah Dominguez and center Scott Morrison were arrested and jailed in Cabo San Lucas last weekend, charged with brutally beating tour worker Kyle Meagher of Lansing, Michigan. And the injuries were very graphic:

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Rockets Soar To 20 In A Row; Oden Back On Court

The Houston Rockets continue to reach new heights, as they beat the Atlanta Hawks 83-75 Wednesday night for their 20th victory in a row, tying the mark set by the ‘70-’71 Bucks for the 2nd-longest streak in NBA history.

Shane Battier Rockets Hawks

(Cheer up, Shane Battier - your team’s won 20 in a row!)

What a weekend it’s going to be in Houston. The Rockets can reach 21 in a row with a win over Charlotte on Friday, while the Hanson Brothers skate into town on Saturday. If only the local NBA team could have their popular big man back on the court.

While that’s not happening with Yao Ming & the Rockets anytime soon, the Portland Blazers did enjoy a quick glimpse of their own tower of power stepping out on the floor. Read more…

Glanville Willing To Take Gamble On Recruit Faker

By now, you’re likely familiar with the saga of Nevada high school offensive lineman Kevin Hart, who made up a nice little ruse about being recruited by Cal and Oregon, complete with press conference and hat selection.

Kevin Hart Fernley High School

He eventually owned up to his hoax, but there may be a happy ending in all of this. Despite the ruse, someone is still interested in possibly giving him a scholarship, according to KPTV in Portland: “FOX 12 reported that Portland State University football coaches said they have called Kevin Hart’s high school, requesting footage of the lineman.” Hart’s grandfather says Kevin just made a mistake, and he’d be happy to send any game tape to the university.

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Weber State and Portland State Rack Up 141 Total Points In Football Game

PORTLAND SEES 141 PTS SCORED, AND NOT FROM BLAZERS: Weber State got past Portland State 73-68 on Saturday. But it wasn’t a score from the hardwood - the points were gotten on the gridiron:

Portland State Weber State football

1-AA* Weber State racked up 687 yards of total offense, helped by Wildcats QB Cameron Higgins throwing 7 TDs in the wild win. Just as remarkable, PSU QB Drew Hubel tossed nine TDs in a losing effort.The Big Sky Conference contest was thrilling even to the end, when an 84-yard fumble return brought the Vikings to within 5 with 31 seconds to go. But the two-point try & onside kickoff failed, and the Wildcats escaped.

Jerry Glanville Footbrawl

With scores like this, coach Jerry Glanville certainly has brought excitement back to the Portland State program. But these kind of shootouts may hurt his standing as a defensive guru.The high-flying affair was held at PGE park, which is also home to the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. It’s pretty amusing that a football game would produce a basketball score on a baseball field.

(* - Yes, we know the NCAA now uses the exasperating label “Football Championship Subdivision”. And we don’t care.)

Oden Can Find Other Things To Do In Portland

THINGS TO DO IN PORTLAND WHEN YOUR SEASON’S DEAD: So Greg Oden won’t be hitting the floor for the Blazers this season. What’s a #1 draft pick to do?

Greg Oden Welcome

Apart from cheering on his new teammates (and bailing them out of jail afterwards), Oden now has time to check out some of the other sports options in town.For instance, Jerry Glanville is back on the sidelines, as the former Falcons & Oilers coach is now leading the 1-AA Portland State Vikings.

Jerry Glanville Elvis

It’s known that during his NFL days, Glanville would leave two tickets at will call for Elvis Presley, in case the King ever decided to show up.For fun, Greg might consider hitting the hip PDX boutiques for a sequin jumpsuit and pompadour wig - then show up at the next PSU game in his new attire, announcing in a Presley-esque drawl, “Here I am, thank you very much. Now, where my seats at?

And as the winter months drag on, Greg can check out the Winter Hawks, Portland’s entry in the junior Western Hockey League.

Winter Hawks Blackhawks

And if he wants to practice some law, Oden can send a tip to “Dollar” Bill Wirtz about possible copyright infringement.And were sure there’s museums, symphonies and fine- dining establishments to enjoy in the Rose City, just like any other big-name metropolis.

Greg Oden Beer Pong

If all else fails, there’s always beer pong.